What is the Pastor’s Heart?
by Dr. Ken Matto
Whenever we speak of the Pastor’s heart, we normally think of a person who has a genuine calling on their life to shepherd a flock of God’s people. We would normally think of them as having a gentle spirit, one who has the spirit of being able to sit with a person and listen to them unfold their lives. We find them to be able to counsel a person one on one or the whole congregation from the pulpit. We would hope he would be a person who could be trusted with confidential information. We would see him as a leader of the church who has the ability to guide and to teach with all biblical absolutes and one who is not owned and operated by a certain group or persons in the church and that he would be unbiased in his decisions. We would also expect him to respond to a crisis or commiserate in sadness. We would also expect him to be a man who would aptly teach the Word of God. So basically, this is how we would normally structure our view on what a pastor should be like.
The question now arises, is there any phase or phases of pastoral leadership which have been left out or neglected? I believe there are some very important characteristics which have been eluded when considering the heart of the pastor. These characteristics have long been put out to pasture resulting in the death of the true church.
(1 Sam 17:34-36 KJV) And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: {35} And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. {36} Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
(1 Pet 5:8 KJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
(Rev 13:2 KJV) And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
(Prov 28:15 KJV) As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
Here in these four verses we find that a lion and a bear refer to Satan and his emissaries as they come against the church of Christ. In the Samuel passage we see that when David was tending his father’s sheep when both a lion and bear took one of the lambs out of the flock to devour it. We see that David went right after the lion and bear, which would be risking his own life, to retrieve that lamb from the jaws of death.
Now let us look at the spiritual meaning of that passage which would be of great interest to us. First, we look at the lamb. The lamb would be representing a believer. (Luke 10:3 KJV) Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. We see that the Lord Jesus Christ views His children as lambs. We see that term "father’s sheep." This term would represent the position of the believer that we belong to God the Father. We also see that both the bear and the lion represent Satan who comes against the church. David would also represent the Lord Jesus Christ here in that He went after Satan to retrieve His elect from the kingdom of Satan. Should the pastor of a local congregation do any less?
These passages give us some good insight as to what a shepherd or pastor should be doing. I want to give some other duties which the pastor must do to keep his flock intact. If these duties are avoided then the pastor has proven he is just another hand-picked, valueless, establishment pastor who is in it for the free ride.
"If a sheep stray from the flock, the shepherd sets his dog after it, not to devour it, but to bring it in again; even so our Heavenly Shepherd." -Daniel Cawdray
Biblical Instructor
(Acts 20:27 KJV) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
A true pastor is supposed to be one who is a good biblical instructor not fearing the congregation when he wants to or needs to speak on a certain subject. He is to proclaim the full counsel of God which means he is to teach as strongly on hell as well as heaven, the holiness of God as well as the love of God. He is to teach all aspects of Scripture and is not to shun any part nor skip passages of Scripture unless, in all honesty, he has not done a full study and would be speculating. He is to teach from the Scriptures alone and not adulterate the teachings with outside sources such as theology books, theologians, magazines, or other publications. He is to compare Scripture with Scripture. He should also be using a King James Version, since it is the best version. The modern versions just engender confusion especially when you have ten different versions in one congregation.
(Acts 20:29 KJV) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
We saw in our passages from 1 Samuel 17 that when the bear and lion came into the flock that David was keeping, he immediately went after those beasts with the job of freeing the lamb and bringing it back to safety. The pastor must have the same mindset in protecting his flock. He must be vigilant in protecting his flock from false gospels coming into the church. If a person comes into the church with some type of false gospel, then he needs to address it immediately. The best way to protect his flock from the incursion of false gospels is to escort the person out and in this way the false gospel will have been expunged. If he does not deal with it immediately, then the poison will spread and there will eventually be a divided congregation which will lead to a great church upheaval and a church split. 2 different gospels cannot survive inside the same building. I know this from experience. The problem is too many pastors sacrifice truth for the sake of the phony love being propagated in the church. Would you let a bank robber in your house with a gun and say he is welcome because you love him? Then why would you want a soul stealer in your church with a false gospel? Protect your sheep at all cost because this is your calling.
Battle worthy
(Deu 20:1 KJV) When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
Every true pastor will realize that the battle against truth comes from two places: Outside the church and inside the church. The pastor is one who must be prepared for the battle which WILL come against him but in reality it is against Christ and the church. He is not to acquiesce but is to remain firm in the truth even if it means some will leave the church. The minute a compromise is made, there begins a breach in the strength of the church. For a pastor to be battle worthy he must be strong and remain strong in the Scriptures.
(Jer 1:8 KJV) Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
As David did not fear the bear and the lion, the pastor must not fear the power brokers, the cliques, or the good givers in the church. When the pastor encounters a problem in the church, he must face that problem no matter who is doing it. There can be no respecter of persons. All should be equal. When you look at a herd of sheep, what do you notice? The first thing I notice is that they all look alike. Some may have imperfections, some may be smaller or larger but nevertheless they all look alike. This is how the congregation must look to the pastor, none are more or less important than the other, no matter who they are. Remember, all God’s children are precious and of equal value to Him and are to be treated equally by the pastor. Playing favorites is an abomination unto the Lord.
(Mat 18:12 KJV) How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
How many times have you seen people leave a church and the pastor and elders do nothing about it except say oh well, let them go. The true pastor will investigate as to why a person wants to leave the church and will even go to their home. Maybe something is happening in the church that the pastor does not know about. When a person leaves the church it is a serious matter and an indictment against that assembly if the person left for legitimate reasons. The pastor must go after the sheep as the one who lost the 1 and left the 99. There may be a misunderstanding and if it is not addressed, bad feelings will be generated and an atmosphere of acrimony will arise. Whatever the reason or excuse a person gives for leaving, it should be addressed by the pastor for further edification and to be able to identify the problem and head it off at the pass if it happens again.
Not Afraid to Discipline
(Mat 18:15 KJV) Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
There should be no fear on the pastor’s part to do unbiased discipline in the church. I use the word unbiased because the pastor and elders should not only admonish the one in poor clothing but also the one in the $400 suit who sits up front. If a person needs to be disciplined, then it must be done not only for the person’s spiritual benefit but as an example to others in the church. There is no church discipline anymore and this is why we have such free thinking congregations with multiple gospels inside the four walls. If discipline is initiated at the point an infraction is discovered it saves the person and congregation much heartache.
(Jer 10:21 KJV) For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
The word "brutish" means irrational or stupid." There are many churches out there under the condemnation of God because the leadership has chosen to do things the way of the world instead of leading the church in a biblical manner. The heart of the true pastor will always seek the way of the Lord and allow the Bible to be their guide. When a pastor deals with his congregation in an equal manner towards all, there is a good chance that church will be a faithful church unless it is founded on a false gospel. In that case then, it doesn’t matter what they do. They are founded on sand. When a pastor allows 2 gospels to remain inside a single church, they have become brutish and has total disregard for the truth and that means they do not possess the true pastor’s heart. There is much more to being a pastor than just walking around with a smile and appeasing everyone. God requires him to be walking and leading in truth. If they do not, they should be fired. If you run a business and have an employee which is not performing the duties they were hired to do, you get rid of them. The modern church is the only entity on earth that rewards faithlessness with a raise, car, and a house.